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Subject-Verb Agreement Rules: Examples & Exercises

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Have you ever heard of the term subject-verb agreement? This is your chance to discover what subject-verb agreement is, what is meant by “concord,” and the guidelines that will assist you in comprehending how it functions.

In this article, we’ll understand the rules of subject-verb agreement, examples, Advanced Subject-Verb Agreement Rules, and exercises that help you understand and apply this important grammar rule. Here you will find a valuable resource for understanding and mastering subject-verb agreement. Whether you’re preparing for an important exam or simply want to improve your communication skills.

Table of Content
  • What is Subject-Verb Agreement- Meaning and Definition
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Examples
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Rules with Examples
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Rules Chart
  • Subject Verb Agreement Class 9
  • Subject Verb Agreement Class 10
  • Subject Verb Agreement Rules Exercises
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheet
  • Subject-Verb Agreement Quiz

What is Subject-Verb Agreement- Meaning and Definition

Subject-verb agreement, also known as “subject-verb concord” is an important grammatical rule. It implies that the verb or verbs in a sentence must match the number, person, and gender of the subject. Basically, the subject and verbs in a sentence must both agree on the number, whether it be singular or plural. A singular subject (he, Ram, train, etc.) requires a singular verb (is, goes, shines), whereas a plural subject requires a plural verb, according to the subject-verb agreement rule.

Subject-Verb Agreement Examples

Singular Subject Singular Verbs Plural Subject Plural Verbs
I am/ was/ have/ go/ read We are/were/have/go/read
You are/were/have/go/read You are/were/have/go/read
He/She/It is/was/has/goes/reads They are/were/have/go/read

Subject-Verb Agreement Rules with Examples

While using the present tenses, the idea of subject-verb agreement is most important. It doesn’t matter which verb is used in the sentence’s subject in the simple past or simple future tenses. Writing error-free sentences is made easier when you are aware of and adhere to the norms of subject-verb agreement. To understand the application of each rule, read through the following guidelines and the accompanying examples.

Rule 1

The first rule is the use of a singular verb with a singular subject and a plural verb with a plural subject, which we have already covered. Nouns, pronouns, and even noun phrases can be the subject of a sentence. If the word is a pronoun, the subject-verb agreement is determined by referring to the pronoun’s person.

For example:
  • Rachel spends her free time listening to music. (Singular subject with singular verb)
  • Blaine and Kurt play the piano. (Plural subject with plural verb)
  • She likes to have a dessert after every meal. (Third person singular pronoun with singular subject)
Rule 2

When using the ‘be’ form of verbs, there is an exception. In this case, the verb is used according to the number and person of the subject. Check out the following table to see how it works with different pronouns.

Person Pronoun Verb Example
First person singular I am I am confident.
First person plural We are We are confident.
Second person singular/plural You are You are confident.
Third person singular
He is He is confident.
She is She is confident.
It is It is amazing.
Third person plural They are They are confident.

Moreover, the rule holds true when the word is employed with other nouns and noun phrases. When verbs in the ‘be’ form are used as the main verb or supporting verb, the same holds true for simple past, present continuous, and past continuous tenses. For clarification, consider the following instances.

Example:
  • The girls are waiting for you.
  • Santana is a singer.
  • We were happy with the review of our first movie.
  • Michael Jackson’s songs are still enjoyed by millions.
  • I was reading the latest book by Rudyard Kipling.

Note: However, if the pronoun “each” is used with both nouns connected by the conjunction “and,” it refers to the two subjects separately, therefore the verb will be singular. (e.g. Every boy and every girl was given a bar of chocolate, a biscuit, and two bananas).

Rule 3

The subject also affects how “have” and “has” are used as primary verbs, in the present perfect continuous tense, and in other contexts. “Has” is used by all singular subjects and by all plural subjects.

For example:
  • I have a younger brother.
  • You have taken the wrong cut.
  • Swetha has a pet dog.
  • William Shakespeare has written around 37 plays.
  • Finn has been waiting to talk to you about the test results
Rule 4

When compound subjects are united with the conjunction “and,” a plural verb is taken.

For example:
  • Krish and Radha are on their way to the airport.
  • Caren, Sheela and Akash have completed their assessments.
Rule 5

When more than one noun is joined by the conjunction ‘or’, the subject is considered to be singular and a singular verb is used.

For example:
  • Celery or spring onion works fine.
  • Your mom or dad has to be here in an hour.
Rule 6

Sentences with pronouns such as anybody, anyone, no one, somebody, someone, everybody, everyone, nothing and nobody are treated as singular subjects and will therefore use a singular verb.

For example:
  • Nobody has understood anything.
  • Everyone was happy with the outcome.
  • Nothing fits me well.
  • No one finds the movie interesting.
Rule 7

For sentences using ‘either...or’ and ‘neither...nor’, the verb should agree with the noun or pronoun that comes just before it.

For example:
  • Neither Ricky nor Gina is here yet.
  • Either the teacher or the students have to take an initiative to keep the classroom clean.
  • Neither the children nor their parents are aware of the consequences.
Rule 8

When sentences have subjects like police, news, scissors, mathematics, etc. (nouns that are plural by default), the verb used should be plural.

For example:
  • The news of demonetisation shocks the entire nation.
  • The police have been looking for the culprits.
Rule 9

When a negative sentence is written, the ‘do’ verb is used and it has to match the subject.

For example:
  • The children do not like working out trigonometry problems.
  • My father does not work at the bank anymore.
Rule 10

Interrogative sentences also take the help of the ‘do’ verb. As far as the subject-verb agreement of interrogative sentences is concerned, the first verb (‘be’ verb or ‘do’ verb) has to be aligned with the subject of the sentence.

For example:
  • Do you read thriller novels?
  • Doesn’t she know you already?
  • Is Tina happy with the new house?
  • Were you looking for me?
  • Has Sharon submitted her final project yet?
Rule 11

When you have sentences that begin with ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘those’, ‘these’, etc., always remember that the subject follows the verb and therefore the verb has to be conjugated with reference to the subject.

For example:
  • Here is your book.
  • There lies your shirt.
  • That was a great movie.
  • There have been many changes in the timetable.
Rule 12

Abstract nouns and uncountable nouns are considered as singular subjects, so make sure you use a singular verb along with it.

For example:
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Love makes people do crazy things.
  • Good friendship keeps your mind and body healthy.
Rule 13

When the subject refers to a period of time, distance or a sum of money, use a singular verb.

For example:
  • 1267 kilometres is too long for us to travel in half a day.
  • 10 years is not considered optimum to go on the water slide.
  • Don’t you think 1000 rupees is a little too much for a portrait?
Rule 14

The next rule is based on the use of collective nouns as subjects. Remember that when you have a collective noun as the subject of the sentence, the verb can be singular or plural based on the sentence and the context.

For example:
  • My family is settled in Australia.
  • All groups of participants have arrived.
Rule 15

In sentences that have adjectives such as ‘all’, ‘a lot of’, ‘lots of’ or ‘some’ are used along with nouns to form a phrase that acts as the subject of the sentence, the verb is used according to the noun just before it.

For example:
  • All of my dresses have become tight.
  • A lot of food is left out.
  • Some of the books are torn and damaged.
Rule 16

When a sentence begins with ‘each’ or ‘every’ as the subject, it is considered singular and so the verb has to be singular too.

For example:
  • Each student has been asked to provide a consent letter.
  • Every teacher, parent and student is expected to work together.
Rule 17

When you are using a sentence to express a wish or a sentence expressing a request, verbs are used a little differently from other sentences.

For example:
  • I wish I were a bird.
  • If you were here, I would not be sad.
  • We request that everyone make their choices now.

Subject-Verb Agreement Rules Chart

1. If the SUBJECT is singular, add ‘s’ to the verb.
Eg., The horse walks down the street.
2. If the SUBJECT is plural, don’t add ‘s’ to the verb.
Eg., The horses walk down the street.
3. If the SUBJECT is I or You, do not add ‘s’ to the verb.
Eg.,
I ride the bicycle.
You ride the bicycle.
4. Linking Verbs:
Singular Subject: was, has, is, does, am
Plural Subject: were, have, are, do

Subject Verb Agreement Class 9

  1. Singular and Plural Subjects:
    First, identify if the subject of your sentence is singular or plural. A singular subject means one (e.g., cat, boy), and a plural subject means more than one (e.g., cats, boys).
  2. Matching the Verb:
    Once you know if your subject is singular or plural, make sure your verb matches it. For most verbs, you add an -s for singular subjects (e.g., The cat runs.) and use the base form for plural subjects (e.g., The cats run.).
  3. Be Careful with Irregulars:
    Some subjects look plural but are actually singular, like the word “mathematics” or names of countries (e.g., The United States). These subjects take a singular verb (e.g., Mathematics is fun.).

Subject Verb Agreement Class 10

  1. Compound Subjects: When two subjects are connected by “and,” they usually need a plural verb (e.g., The dog and the cat run.). However, if the compound subject refers to the same person or thing, use a singular verb (e.g., The writer and editor is here.).
  2. Indefinite Pronouns: Words like “everyone,” “each,” “nobody” are singular and take singular verbs (e.g., Everyone is invited.).
  3. Subject Coming After the Verb: Sometimes, especially in questions or clauses, the subject comes after the verb. Make sure to still match the verb to the subject in number (e.g., Are the kids playing?).

Subject Verb Agreement Rules Exercises

Question: Choose the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject:
  1. The amenities of the farmhouse ____ quite impressive. (is/are)
  2. Man and woman _____ complementary to each other. (is/are)
  3. The leader as well as his supporters _____ to the same tribe. (belong/belongs)
  4. The students accompanied by their professor _____ went on a trip. (has/have)
  5. A large sum of money _____ stolen. (was/were)
  6. A lot of buildings _____ collapsed in the storm. (has/have)
  7. The government ____ criticised by the High Court for their actions. (was/were)
  8. Many people _____ tried hard to climb the treacherous mountain range. (have/has)
  9. All the tourists ____ excited to visit the museum. (is/are)
  10. Somebody ____ waiting at the restaurant for you. (is/are)
  11. The carpenter, along with his helper ____, expected to come soon. (is/are)
  12. Neither Danny nor Emily ____ went to work. (has/have)
Answers:
  1. The amenities of the farmhouse are quite impressive.
  2. Man and woman are complementary to each other.
  3. The leader as well as his supporters belongs to the same tribe.
  4. The students accompanied by their professor have gone on a trip.
  5. A large sum of money was stolen.
  6. A lot of buildings have collapsed in the storm.
  7. The government was criticized by the High Court for its actions.
  8. Many people has tried hard to climb the treacherous mountain range.
  9. All the tourists were excited to visit the museum.
  10. Somebody is waiting at the restaurant for you.
  11. The carpenter, along with his helper is, expected to come soon.
  12. Neither Danny nor Emily has gone to work.

Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheet

Fill in the Blanks

Choose the correct form of the verb to ensure subject-verb agreement in each sentence.

  • The dog (barks, bark) at strangers.
  • All of the cookies (was, were) eaten.

Correct the Errors

Identify and correct the subject-verb agreement errors in the following sentences.

  • Every one of the cakes have a different topping.
  • The list of items are on the table.

Create Your Own Sentences

  • Write five sentences where the subject and verb agree. Try to use a mix of singular and plural subjects.

Subject-Verb Agreement Quiz

Choose the sentence in which the subject and verb agree on each of the following:

A. The chairperson or the secretary are speaking today.
The chairperson or the secretary is speaking today.

B. Either George or Messi pays the workers this evening.
Either George or Messi pay the workers this evening.

C. Some of the almonds is salted.
Some of the almonds are salted.

D. Mahi, as well as Jade, speaks French Sign Language.
Mahi, as well as Jade, speak French Sign Language.

E. Physics are a required subject for a college degree.
Physics is a required subject for a college degree.

F. Each of the champions receive a trophy.
Each of the champions receives a trophy.

G. Neither my bike nor my car is working.
Neither my bike nor my car are working.

Subject-Verb Agreement Rules in English- FAQs

Subject-Verb agreement is basically a rule in grammar, according to which the verbs in a sentence must match the number, person, and gender of the subject.

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